Remembering War

The Great War between Memory and History in the 20th Century

Jay Winter

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May 26, 2006
352 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
16 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300110685
Cloth

Also Available in:
e-book

This is a masterful volume on remembrance and war in the twentieth century. Jay Winter locates the fascination with the subject of memory within a long-term trajectory that focuses on the Great War. Images, languages, and practices that appeared during and after the two world wars focused on the need to acknowledge the victims of war and shaped the ways in which future conflicts were imagined and remembered. At the core of the “memory boom” is an array of collective meditations on war and the victims of war, Winter says.
The book begins by tracing the origins of contemporary interest in memory, then describes practices of remembrance that have linked history and memory, particularly in the first half of the twentieth century. The author also considers “theaters of memory”—film, television, museums, and war crimes trials in which the past is seen through public representations of memories. The book concludes with reflections on the significance of these practices for the cultural history of the twentieth century as a whole.

Jay Winter is Charles J. Stille Professor of History, Yale University. He is author or coauthor of a dozen books, including Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History.

Remembering War is a work of great complexity and sophistication. Mr. Winter ranges from war memorials to war films, photography and museums, letters and literature. The common denominator is the theater of memory. There, in the mind’s eye, the traumatic experience of the trenches was transfigured by men and women for whom the fellowship of survival alone gave their lives meaning . . . Mr. Winters book is a plea for academics to get their hands dirty while helping to ‘prevent people in power from lying about the past.’ This injunction should, however, apply not only to politicians, but also to academics themselves; they too exercise power, especially over the young.”—Daniel Johnson, New York Sun

"In a characteristically vigorous and insightful manner, Jay Winter takes up one of the most influential issues of contemporary cultural comment and academic debate—memory and its relationship with history. The result is highly original and the fruit of thirty years' reflection on the subject. This book will stand alone as the contribution by a leading historian of the Great War to the field."—John Horne, Trinity College, Dublin

“As the Great War recedes beyond living memory, a new branch of the voluminous literature that it generated has arisen: the study of the ways in which the war is remembered. In this field, Jay Winter is the undisputed Pope…perceptive…densely-packed….thought-provoking…” - Nigel Jones, History Today

"A worthwhile read for graduate students and academics working on modern Europe, military history, memory and cultural studies."—Bryan F. Ganaway, H-Net Reviews

"Compelling."—Monica Black, The Hedgehog Review

"The variety of those with whom he has come into contact and the eminence he has achieved have given Winter the opportunity and time to think extraordinarily deeply about history, memory, and war. His new book, Remembering War: The Great War between History and Memory in the 20th Century, is the result. . . . Themes such as the role of witnesses are revisited from several different angles, with these separate discussions building to a cumulative whole. This is not only a carefully thought out and stimulating work, therefore, but a well-written one. . . . the concepts and conclusions that Winter draws from his own experiences as a public historian are exciting—and should be required reading for all those who seek to engage with wider audiences."—Daniel Todman, Biography

"Winter seems to have spent a good deal of his recent career pondering the divides and complicities between the academic and the popular, and memory and history. Here is his book, like an intellectual memoir, to share much of what he has learned."—Matt Masuda, The Historian
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